Scared of Nipah virus, crematoria staff refuse to dispose dead bodies in north Keralaindia Updated: May 22, 2018 21:17 IST
Hospital staff and family members of the patients admitted at the Kozhikode Medical College wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the Nipah virus outbreak.(PTI Photo)
Amid the panic of Nipah virus outbreak in north Kerala, some of the crematoria in the worst-affected Kozhikode district have refused to cremate bodies fearing infection. .
The district administration said they will book those who were not cooperating during an emergency situation. “Some incidents came to our notice. We will take strict action against those who are not co-operating with us,” said district collector U V Jose.
Employees of the electric crematorium in Mavoor in Kozhikode have proceeded on mass leave without informing the authorities. The cremation of one of the victims Ashokan (52), a resident of Koorachund in Kozhikode, who died on Tuesday was delayed for seven hours.
The cremation was possible only after a team of volunteers from Ivor Madam in Palakkad rushed to the city to cremate the body. “We were in tears. The issue came to light after one of the news channels flashed our plight,” said a relative of the deceased.
At least two crematoria in the city complained that some of their employees left without informing them. “Fear is palpable everywhere. We can’t blame them because life is precious for everyone,” said an employee who did not want to be named.
Sajish, husband of nurse Lini who succumbed to the deadly virus also complained that many ambulance drivers at the medical college refused to carry his wife’s body. “Their attitude added to our shock. Later the police had intervened and arranged a vehicle,” he said.
Panic has gripped many areas of two districts, Kozhikode and Malappuram, as the toll in the illness induced by the Nipah virus rose to 10. Eight of the dead were from Kozhikode and two from Malappuram.
The death of four more are under the scanner. The Perambra taluk hospital where four of the dead, including nurse Lini, were initially admitted wore a deserted look. The hospital used to get at least 1000 out-patients daily.